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Phosphorus in the interstellar medium: the missing prebiotic element

Rivilla Victor M.

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    "description": "<p>Phosphorus (P) is a crucial element for prebiotic chemistry and for the<br>\ndevelopment of life in the Universe. It is one of the key components of deoxyri-<br>\nbonucleic acid (DNA), phospholipids (the structural components of all cellular<br>\nmembranes) and the adenosine triphosphate (ATP) molecule, from which all<br>\nforms of life assume energy. The Chemistry Nobel Prize Sir Alexander Todd remarked the astrobiological importance of P when he said: &rsquo;Where there&rsquo;s life,<br>\nthere&rsquo;s phosphorus&rsquo;. For these reasons, the study of interstellar phosphorus is<br>\ngenerating increasing interest in the last years. It is mandatory its study in<br>\nstar-forming regions, where stars, planets (and eventually life) are expected to<br>\narise. However, our knowledge about P in the interstellar medium is still very<br>\npoor. For this, our group started several observational and theoretical projects<br>\nto study P-bearing species in star-forming regions. In my talk I will present the<br>\nthe first detections of P-O - key chemical bond to build-up the DNA double<br>\nhelix - towards two star-forming regions, and multiple detections of PN towards<br>\na large sample of massive dense cores. The observed molecular abundances<br>\nindicates that P is significantly more abundant in star-forming regions than<br>\npreviously thought. I will also show the results of recent ALMA and IRAM 30m<br>\ntelescope observations of selected massive cores in the Galactic Disk and several<br>\nclouds in the Galactic Center, which suggest that shocks may have a key role<br>\nto sputtering P from grain mantles and to explain the observed abundances of<br>\nP-bearing molecules in the gas-phase. All these findings are helping us to attain<br>\na much better understanding about the unknown chemistry of P in space.</p>", 
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    "title": "Phosphorus in the interstellar medium: the missing prebiotic element", 
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        "name": "Rivilla Victor M."
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